Howard police issue warrant in killing


Baltimore & Region


Howard County police have issued an arrest warrant for a 32-year-old man accused of robbing and killing a West Friendship resident this month.

Joel Nunez Valles, who has no current address, is being sought on charges of first- and second-degree murder, armed robbery and theft in the death of Abolinar Avila, 50.

Avila was found dead in his home located on a farm in the 13000 block of Frederick Road on Oct. 19 by a friend after he did not answer the door. Police initially found no evidence of foul play, but an autopsy showed that Avila had received small stab wounds from an unknown object.

Authorities initially believed the victim's name to be Juan Miguel Gonzales, but fingerprints later revealed his true identity.

Police said Valles and Avila were acquaintances, but were unsure of the relationship. People who knew Avila said he owned a small landscaping business.

9-year term in bank robberies

A 34-year-old Eastern Shore man was sentenced to more than nine years in prison yesterday after pleading guilty in federal court to robbing five banks in Baltimore and Baltimore County in a little over a month last year, getting away with a total of $11,625.

Prosecutors said in court papers that the suspect, Gary Mitchell, had been identified by employees at several banks and that his fingerprints were found on demand notes presented to a teller at one of the institutions. Officials said the spree of robberies began March 29, 2004, 10 days after Mitchell had been released from prison on another bank robbery conviction.

Mitchell admitted to robbing the Provident Bank in the first block of Shipping Road in Dundalk on March 29, 2004; the Carrollton Bank in the 500 block of S. Conkling St. in Baltimore on April 7, 2004; the Sun Trust Bank in the 2400 block of Boston St. in Baltimore on April 19, 2004; the Wachovia Bank in the 800 block of N. Rolling Road in Catonsville on April 22, 2004; and the First Mariner Bank in the first block of Painters Mill Road in Owings Mills on April 29, 2004.

Man sought in Dundalk robbery

Baltimore County police said they are seeking a man suspected in an armed robbery this week at a convenience store in the Dundalk area.

A man with a handgun robbed a clerk at a High's store in the 8000 block of Merritt Boulevard of an undisclosed amount of cash Monday and then fled on foot, police said. Police said they obtained a warrant for Jerome Charles Owen, 26, with no known address, on suspicion of armed robbery. Owens is described as white, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing about 130 pounds, with close-cut brown hair and two teardrop tattoos under his left eye. Police said he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Embezzler gets 6 years

A prominent Howard County lawyer's secretary was sentenced yesterday to six years in prison for embezzling $185,531 over a six-year period.

Terri Lynn Sank, 52, of Pasadena, worked for Richard B. Talkin for 17 years and had sole control of his business's finances. According to a sentencing memorandum from senior assistant state attorney Lynn M. Marshall, Sank forged Talkin's signature on 157 checks to pay for travel, pharmaceuticals, dishware and Victoria's Secret underwear.

Sank pleaded guilty to felony theft July 20 and was sentenced yesterday by Judge Daniel Moylan in Howard County Circuit Court. She will be eligible for parole in 18 months.

Talkin, who was out of the country yesterday, discovered the thefts during summer last year, Marshall said, when Sank missed work and he reviewed bank records, finding several unauthorized checks with his signature forged on them.

Marshall said the total amount stolen is too large for Talkin ever to expect full repayment. He did get $48,000 from the foreclosure sale of Sank's home and has obtained a civil judgment against her.

In court, Marshall said Sank claimed she was addicted to diet pills, but otherwise didn't explain the thefts. Sank was taken into custody upon sentencing.

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